Okay legal eagles let’s see if you get this one right from last week’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.
A guy drinks himself into unconsciousness and is found by the police behind the wheel passed out.
The police want to draw blood from him to determine his level of alcohol. Time is of the essence since the alcohol is passing through his system.
So you have a person who voluntarily drank himself unconsciousness and is passed out in his car behind the wheel.
The legal question please….
Can the police draw blood from the unconscious drunk and use the results in a prosecution for DUI WITHOUT HIS CONSENT?
Everyone knows the police can draw your blood if you’re pulled over for suspected drunk driving. You can refuse the test but if you do you lose your driving privileges for a year.
If you are conscious they can give you a breathalyzer or a blood test. But at least you have the option to refuse the test.
An unconscious drunk does not have that option.
So can they draw blood from an unconscious driver?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week ruled 6 to 1 that a warrantless blood draw from an unconscious DUI suspect is improper.
It is also illegal and the results of the blood draw are inadmissible at trial.
The high courts reasoning was an unconscious person cannot by definition voluntarily give consent to have their blood drawn. Why?
Well because they are unconscious…
Now you may think that’s a relatively easy question to answer. But believe it or not there are other states that do allow the police to draw blood from an unconscious person and use those results against the defendant.
I guess we are lucky to be living in Pennsylvania or a state that has a liberal state constitution.
Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully believes the Pennsylvania Constitution gives citizens more individual rights than the actual US Constitution does.
Until Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully went to law school he did not even know there was a state constitution.
But there is and it guarantees more individual freedoms than our federal constitution.
What do you think of this decision? Do you think police should be allowed to draw blood from a person who voluntarily drank himself into oblivion and got behind the wheel drunk?
I hope you’re enjoying the summer and the fantastic month of August.
Your friend and attorney Bernie Tully.